The Champions

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Hey, all! So sorry this has taken so long. Life has been hectic as all get out as of late. This is kind of a much needed filler chapter with info, but next chapter will be a lot more fun. I hope you enjoy!!!

The Great Hall was alive and buzzing with chatter the few minutes before the champion ceremony. I was sitting in my seat at the staff table at the front of the Great Hall, my chin in one of my hands, a scowl on my face. We had just gotten out of a staff meeting going over the three tasks, and I was not happy. I was disgusted, to say the least. These were not safe for any child to undergo. Yes, they had willingly signed up for this, but it could possibly impair them for life or have them killed. They were children.

Al and I had to grow up much quicker than most, and I knew I wouldn't wish that upon anyone. The horrors we had seen...it made my skin crawl just thinking about it. It made me sick to the stomach. But I had no say in the matter. I wasn't a wizard, and I was only here on behalf of the Truth. In nine months, I would be back home with my family, and this world would no longer be my issue. I just needed to protect the Potter kid. Lucky for me, he wasn't even of age to enter. But yet, something wasn't sitting right in the back of my mind. It was probably just the barbaric scenes the teachers had painted in my head.

"Ya alright there, Ed?" a gruff but cheerful voice said to my right. I looked up to see Hagrid looking at me, a thoughtful look on his large face. I grunted and rolled my eyes before staring back out at the students milling around the Great Hall, laughing and talking. If only they knew. Hagrid knew how I felt about the tournament. In fact, all of the teachers did after my outburst today.

"You're practically sending them to the slaughter!" I raged as I stood, the chair I was sitting in skidding back. "They're barely of age and you're just going to send them into something that could possibly kill them?" I asked.

"If you think my students are incapable, come out and say it, Professor Elric, Karkaroff sneered, his fists clenching on the table. "I'll show you just how capable they are," he all but growled. I set my jaw, knowing this guy would kick my ass in a fight. We were in his domain right now. But that didn't make me any less angry.

"I'm sure that's not what Edward was saying at all," Dumbledore said from his seat at the head of the conference table, looking as relaxed as ever. The old headmaster looked at me expectantly.

"I'm not saying these children are incapable," I spat. "What I'm saying is that they are children!"

"You're nothing but a child yourself!" Karkaroff shouted, now standing from his chair as well.

"You don't know the hell I've seen!" This had the room silent. Poppy and Minerva were both pale, probably both thinking about my leg. They didn't know half of it. After a moment of tense silence, Dumbledore spoke, breaking the tension.

"I understand how you must feel, Edward, but this is a completely common activity among magical schools; you know that," he reminded me, his tone telling me to play the part I was assigned. They didn't know I wasn't a wizard. Albus was the only one that knew the truth. I took a deep breath, knowing I was backed into a corner. I retook my seat, slumping into the chair.

"Doesn't mean I'm happy about it," I grumbled. There was a moment of silence. Karkaroff was glaring at me but stayed silent. A small smile painted itself on Dumbledore's lips before he spoke, pushing the meeting right along as if nothing had happened.

"Well, let's continue shall we?"

"Edward?" a voice said, breaking me from my thoughts. I looked up with a start to see Hagrid was looking down at me, a frown on his lips. I almost couldn't see his expression behind his beard.

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